Organising an event without spending a lot of money is not an easy task, but it’s not impossible, either. Your event doesn’t need to suffer from a perceived lack of value if you know how to get organised and make the most of the resources you have. In this article, we’ll show you all the tips that will help you hold a successful event on a low budget.
When it comes to organising an event, with or without money at your disposal, it’s essential that you plan properly. The amount of money you spend depends largely on this key point. The steps that will allow you to organise your event without loosening the purse strings won’t be possible if you’re not clear about your event’s objective and the budget needed to achieve it.
a) The objective
An event without clear objectives is like a boat adrift. Why are you organising this event? Organising an event to promote a brand is not the same as organising a cultural event. Defining objectives will show you the way forward and help you to discern what is necessary or not.
b) The budget
Just because you have little money to spend on the event doesn’t mean that you don’t need to budget. In fact, the more limited your budget, the more important it is to devote time and energy to this crucial step. Not sure where to start? In another article, we explain the basic rules of budgeting for your event.
To stay in control, remember to always have a plan B and allow for a margin in the event of cost variations or unforeseen events. Caution is key to organising an event without overspending!
When estimating costs, choose your suppliers wisely. Ask for quotes from several different suppliers before you commit and take time to examine the services on offer. Partner with suppliers you trust and remember that, sometimes, cheap can mean expensive.
2. Create partnerships
Even if your organisation doesn’t have a budget to devote to the event you want to organise, other companies may be interested in investing financially in your event, or contributing materially, if you offer them an incentive in return. The most important things to remember when seeking this type of partnership is to be consistent, look for common interests — if your event is aimed at a young audience, don’t knock on the door of a company that sells hair loss products, for example — and be generous by seeking a win-win relationship.
a) Find sponsors and partners
If you’ve prepared your budget properly, you’ll already have a clear idea of your needs. Use this as a starting point to look for companies that both offer the services you need and are interested in your event. To find such partnerships, you’ll need to be very clear about who your audience is and what your event’s values are. These will be your compass when it comes to finding partners and sponsors with similar interests.
Think carefully about what you can offer them in return. Remember that in this context you are looking for win-win relationships, not altrusistic help (there is room for that too, but it will be much more difficult unless you’re a non-profit organisation). You can offer brand activations of all kinds, as well as visibility on different media formats, including websites, posters, ticketing, newsletters, and so on.
Create a sponsorship offering, with different levels and prices, to present a clear proposal to your potential sponsors. You can adapt this if you identify opportunities with a particular potential sponsor, especially if they can offer you a much-needed service.
b) Call on volunteers and interns
At any event, there are always thousands of tasks to be done, things to be supervised, and so on. During the planning and organisation period, the team required is smaller, but on the ground, the more the merrier. In order to limit your budget during the event and not incur large expenses, you may call on volunteers, or students in event organising who wish to carry out an internship. It’s also a good idea to use their help during the planning and organisation period.
In both cases, bear in mind that they are there to help out and should not take on positions of responsibility. Trainees are also there to learn from you, so you will need to support them. Don’t forget to offer them something in return for their help, usually something related to the experience they can have at your event.
c) Get speakers or performances for free
One aspect that can significantly increase your spending, depending on your event, is fees for performers or speakers.
To reduce or eliminate this, you can look for people in your area who might be interested in performing at your event to promote themselves, to try out a new show or, if you’re holding a conference, to communicate their message to your audience.
3. Boost your revenue
Just because you don’t have money to spend on your event doesn’t mean you can’t get funding and make a profit. There are different ways of boosting income from an event, and depending on the type of event you’re organising, some will be more suitable for your situation than others. We’ve already discussed how to raise funds through sponsors; here are two other ways you should consider:
If you are a non-profit organisation or organising a charity event, it should be relatively straightforward to launch a donation campaign to raise funds for your event. This is particularly valuable in terms of cash flow, as you will be able to rely on it for the first payments you’ll need to make during the organisation of your event.
You can also request donations through your event for an unrelated cause. In this case, your event will act as a loudspeaker for the cause and as a means of collecting donations. This type of action can indirectly help you raise funds for your event if your potential sponsors or collaborators are sensitive to the cause you are supporting and wish to associate their brand image with it.
b) Ticket sales
If you are charging for tickets, then ticket sales will be one of your main sources of income. To make the most of this and set up your online ticketing system without spending any money, consider these key tips:
- price your tickets appropriately and work on price levels based on criteria such as early purchase or services included;
- pass on your ticketing platform’s fee to buyers;
- opt for self-distribution and only use distributors to reach audiences you can’t reach yourself;
- communicate properly around your event to ensure your tickets sell out.
Whether tickets for your event are free or not, ticketing will be highly useful and will indirectly help you save money by providing you with valuable data on your attendees and clear guidance on their numbers, as well as facilitating access control and capacity management. You will end up with a comprehensive database of valuable information for your future events, as well as a direct channel for communicating with your attendees.
Want to know more about the best ways to find sources of revenue for your event? Don’t miss our article with 12 ideas for optimising and sustaining your event revenue.
4. Reduce your costs
Although you may be able to secure funding, you will need to complement your strategy with cost cutting. Generally, the first step to reducing the costs of your event is to start planning it well in advance. This will give you the flexibility you need to obtain discounts, negotiating power and overall lower costs.
Pay particular attention to the following aspects, which will be key to your savings:
- Date and venue of the event: If you are flexible on this, you will get a better price. You will also save money if your event takes place during the week.
- Time slots: Think strategically about time slots for your event. Do you want to save money on food, or do you want food to be a source of income by charging attendees and negotiating deals with food trucks or the venue’s restaurant? Play with time slots to either encourage or avoid the need to eat during your event.
- Food: As well as the strategies we’ve just mentioned, in some types of events you may also want to ask attendees to bring some food to share. The registration form via your ticketing or registration platform can be very useful for ensuring each attendee indicates what they intend to bring.
- Decoration: Keep it simple. If you like arts and crafts, you can create your own decorations.
- Website: These days, it’s essential that you have a website dedicated exclusively to your event. Instead of spending large sums on a designer or time trying to do it yourself with solutions like WordPress, opt for a ticketing and registration platform that offers you a free mini-site for your event which is customisable and easy to use. You can integrate the information you need and easily sell your tickets.
5. Send thanks
After the event, it’s important that you maintain a good relationship with your audience, partners, sponsors, team and volunteers. Thank them for their support in making your event possible. For an event that you have managed to organise with zero budget at the start, this step is extremely important.
Send a thank-you email to everyone who attended and you will set the stage for the next edition of your event to be just as successful, if not more so. To make it easier, use a mailing solution that is directly linked to your event’s ticketing system.
You now know that organising an event without a budget is possible, and you have the keys to making it happen. Weezevent’s event management solutions will help you reach your goals effortlessly: online ticketing, access control, mailing and CRM, and a cashless payment system will be your allies in organising a unique and successful event.
Need advice? Our team is at your disposal to answer all your questions.